... Stupid but OK.
A few of you have sent notes expressing concern for my absence at the SIR 200K last weekend. Health concerns, ... notable absence, ... and other sincere expressions of concern. Really a surprise to me, thanks, not to worry I’m OK, just a little embarrassed. (well, a lot embarrassed) I would say humiliated but that’s a sentiment we usually reserve for a situation where someone else makes you look the fool. In this case the responsibility is all mine:
From here on out the cycling galaxy of the blog-o-sphere gets a little more ‘nutrient dense’ as they say. Our club (SIR) hosted the spring 200K with 100 or so riders Saturday, and all across the country other riders were out anointing spring’s official arrival with a bit of saddle time. It's reasonable to expect that blog posts and ride stories of every hue would blossom across the internet, just like real spring flowers. This post is a notable exception, rather than a little splash of color in the riot of hues this one is more a snippet of the black and withering stalks of winters cold hand.
As nearly 100 cyclists were making last minute adjustments to gloves, booties, and helmet straps, chatting and waiting for Greg to give the last minute ride instructions, I was driving. I didn’t get up late, have a flat, or have the horrible realization that I had left one of my shoes on the landing in the garage during the drive up. In fact I wish I had run out of gas or had to stop to assist at the scene of a horrible accident. Any of these ‘excuses’ seems imminently more suitable than the real, mundane story: I was lost.
You know how getting lost while riding a brevet is always one of the risks involved with riding these things? Well now add to the list of risks, getting lost on the way to the start.
Yes that’s correct; I never got to the start. Though I have been to Greg’s house numerous times for this event before, I got turned around this time and never even made it to the start. This is particularly upsetting because all my pre-ride prep had gone according to plan. Physically I was feeling pretty darn good. I'd checked off all the things on the checklist, prepped the bike perfectly, got to bed early Friday evening, got up on time, ... shoot I even left early for the start to make sure I would not be rushed at the sign in. Well almost everything went right.
As I was nearing the Hwy 18 exit for Gregs house I realized I had neglected to print off the driving directions. It was at this point that I got my first slight twinge of panic. No sweat, I had a ‘google maps’ map with directions I had printed in order to estimate the drive time. By the way, did you happen to get a look at that fantastic moon early Saturday am?
So as I got off the highway I had to make a decision: Use dead reckoning and my ‘steel trap’ memory of past visits, or follow the google map instructions? (they differed right from the off-ramp) I often tell people “I have a great memory, it’s just really short.” With that, the decision was easy: I elected to follow the printed directions.
In no time at all I was out in the middle of nowhere. Greg lives in an area that is experiencing suburbanization. When I was a kid, this was waaaay out in the country, now it’s a patchwork of nice new housing subdivisions, overlaid on a network of old country roads and small farmettes.
I came to where a turn should be; no turn, but a roundabout. I continued on, into the farm country. I backtracked and went 'the other way' at the roundabout: More horse pasture and blackberry patches. I decided to head back to the off ramp and initiate plan B. I got lost on the way, but found a road number that was on the google directions (SE 256th st?). Further into the wilderness. By the time I arrived some place that looked familiar I was at the Covington off ramp and it was after 7:30. I was so demoralized and dispirited that I elected to just turn the truck and head home.
So now I’ve registered for the OrRando 200K next weekend. I am somewhat familiar with the course and I KNOW WHERE THE START IS! (of course I knew where Greg’s house was too!)
I’m fine, slight dent in the psychic armor but ready to roll otherwise. It will be a new, surprise chapter in the forthcoming book: 1,001 Ways to Not Finish a Brevet. Really, … fine. Just more than a little embarrassed. I forgot how bad humble pie tastes.